Eskenazi Health Creating Curious Minds Program Benefits Families of 5,000 Newborns

Indianapolis, March 20, 2019 – Eskenazi Health, along with First Lady of Indianapolis Steph Hogsett, established a unique program two years ago called Creating Curious Minds – Family Reading with Steph Hogsett that encourages early childhood literacy and highlights the value in reading to newborn infants and young children.

Since the inception of the program, Creating Curious Minds has provided books to 5,000 newborns and their families at Eskenazi Health. The program is a free family reading initiative that provides three new books to every baby born at the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and connects new parents with resources to help make literacy a key component in the life of every family.

“We had high hopes for this important initiative when it began two years ago, and I couldn’t be happier with the success we’ve had in providing quality reading materials for parents to encourage a love of reading from an early age,” said Steph Hogsett. “As a mom myself, I know how important it is for parents to have the means to connect with their youngsters in this very important and intimate way that contributes to their overall health and well-being, while feeding their curiosity and nurturing their desire to learn.”

Creating Curious Minds coincides with research from the American Academy of Pediatrics showing that parents who spend time reading to their children create nurturing relationships, which is important for a child’s cognitive, language and social-emotional development. In addition to creating a closer bond between children and parents, reading aloud and talking about pictures and words in age-appropriate books can strengthen language skills, literacy development and parent-child relationships.

“Our priority at Eskenazi Health remains the overall health of the community in the broadest possible terms,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, chief executive officer at Eskenazi Health. “Our biggest opportunity to have a positive impact on the health of our patients and the health and vitality of our community is to help people stay well in the first place. Education is, of course, critical to good health – and so is social connection. This new program will help foster that connection between family members through reading long after they leave the hospital. I am deeply thankful to Mrs. Hogsett for her leadership and vision in bringing this to life.”

In addition to the three books, families receive a reusable bag for carrying the books, a card from Hogsett, information about the importance of reading, a coupon for the Indy Reads Books store on Mass Ave. and information about how to obtain a library card. The book package is provided at no cost to families.

"There are so many benefits for both parents and children when reading is introduced early, and we’re proud to offer this fantastic new program for parents and their children beginning their lives together at Eskenazi Health," said Dr. Elizabeth Ferries-Rowe, obstetrics and gynecology service chief at Eskenazi Health.

Eskenazi Health and Hogsett worked with literacy experts at Indy Reads to identify the following three culturally diverse books:

A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni, Spanish-English bilingual edition, Knopf Books for Young Readers, Brdbk Bld edition (Jan. 12, 2016)

First 100 Words by Roger Priddy, Priddy Books, Brdbk edition (May 10, 2011)

Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Reprint edition (April 1, 2006).

Eskenazi Health Women’s and Children’s Services provides a full range of services, from prenatal testing to surgical management of complex medical conditions. Staffed by Indiana University School of Medicine faculty physicians, the department provides one-of-a-kind care to expectant mothers and their families. Each year, nearly 2,500 babies are born at the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital.

For more information on the Creating Curious Minds – Family Reading with Steph Hogsett at Eskenazi Health, please visit or call 317.880.2229 (BABY).


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